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Fools of Fortune by William Trevor
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Fools of Fortune (1983)

by William Trevor

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451733,618 (3.99)75
  1. 00
    A Shower of Summer Days by May Sarton (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Both books are set in Anglo-Irish country houses, both deal with family relationships and the consequences of particular actions through the generations.
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Willie Quinton grows up on his family’s estate, Kilneagh near Fermoy, Ireland in the 1920s safe in the knowledge he will continue to live in the manor house and one day run the mill. After an informer is found dead on the property the Black and Tans stage a vicious attack, partially burning the manor house and killing Willie’s father, sisters, and some of the staff, even the dogs.

Willie and his mother move to Cork and she never recovers from the tragedy. Willie eventually returns for a time, but the cycle of revenge continues. “The battlefield has never quietened,” as one character observes.

A masterpiece. ( )
1 vote Hagelstein | Apr 3, 2016 |
A story of how one terrible incident drastically influences the lives of several generations of an Irish family. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of three characters, with each section getting progressively shorter. While a good story and fairly well-written,it might have been better if the ending was as fleshed out as the beginning. ( )
  ELiz_M | Apr 6, 2013 |
Set in Ireland, the story is told in different voices: the main ones those of Willie Quinton, and his cousin, Marianne. Willie tells his story in kind of an unwritten letter format, looking back over the years. The same is true of Marianne.

The story that follows is tragic. But after reading The Story of Lucy Gault, I'm beginning to wonder if maybe William Trevor is able to write anything but tragedy. Willie tells of the years of his childhood, which was tragically interrupted after his mother and father became involved in the cause for Irish independence from Britain after WWI. It was at that time that a group known as the Black & Tans came in to Ireland from England.

minor digression:
Back to the internet I went for more help with Irish history and found that the Black and Tans were mostly former soldiers sent to Ireland by the government in London after 1918 to assist the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) in its work against those who pressed for independence, usually violently.

back to the storyline:
Anyway, without giving away the show, the peaceful childhood life enjoyed by Willie is interrupted having to do with the conflict between the IRA and the Black and Tans. He goes on to the school his father had attended; and it is then that he meets his cousin Marianne for the first time. It was love at first sight. At their next meeting tragedy strikes which affects both Willie & Marianne and the rest of the family.

Fools of fortune is really about the sad legacy of the troubled times in Ireland; it is about obsession & justice. While it may be a very quick & easy read, don't let that fool you. The book is quite complex.

If you are at all interested in Irish history, you will enjoy this book. Plus, William Trevor is a great story teller, leading me to want to grab up everything this man has written. ( )
2 vote bcquinnsmom | Jan 20, 2009 |
This is a beautifully written, haunting novel that shows the dominance of the past over the present. One horribly wrong decision sets into motion a chain of events that culminates in destruction that endures for generations. It is also a story of enduring love and the consequences of that love. Willliam Trevor is a consummate writer. ( )
1 vote pdebolt | Sep 26, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143039628, Paperback)

Penguin Classics is proud to welcome William Trevor—"Ireland’s answer to Chekhov" (The Boston Globe) and "one of the best writers of our era" (The Washington Post)—to our distinguished list of literary masters. In this award-winning novel, an informer’s body is found on the estate of a wealthy Irish family shortly after the First World War, and an appalling cycle of revenge is set in motion. Led by a zealous sergeant, the Black and Tans set fire to the family home, and only young Willie and his mother escape alive. Fatherless, Willie grows into manhood while his alcoholic mother’s bitter resentment festers. And though he finds love, Willie is unable to leave the terrible injuries of the past behind.

First time in Penguin Classics
Winner of the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:55 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In this award-winning novel, an informers body is found on the estate of a wealthy Irish family shortly after the First World War, and an appalling cycle of revenge is set in motion. Led by a zealous sergeant, the Black and Tans set fire to the family home, and only young Willie and his mother escape alive. Fatherless, Willie grows into manhood while his alcoholic mothers bitter resentment festers. And though he finds love, Willie is unable to leave the terrible injuries of the past behind.… (more)

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